I’ve written many times about networking and the importance of making sure your efforts are a balance of give and take instead of just take. But today I want to dive deeper into this subject and focus on the “give” by teaching you how to be a good contact for someone else.
In doing so, you’ll not only grow your own network naturally and organically, but you’ll also increase the quality of your contacts and professional relationships.
5 Ways to Stop Networking and Become a Good Networking Contact
1. Be the one making the introductions
Instead of wondering who your contact can introduce you to, try and think of someone you can introduce him or her to that would benefit both parties. Who in your current network would be a good resource for someone you’re trying to connect and build a rapport with?
Make sure whoever you introduce your new contact to is someone who will never make you look bad with their own behavior. This means you should think of someone who not only will be a great resource but also someone you’ve known long enough you can trust them to represent you well. Because after all, who you refer reflects back on you.
This is why networking takes time. You may have to first prove yourself as a trusted contact before someone will introduce you to their contacts. Be just as discerning in your own introductions to maintain your reputation.
2. Share something of interest
Share something you read you know would be of interest to people in your network. This could include simply tagging them in an article you saw on LinkedIn or sending them the link in an email with a personalized note.
When you take an interest in someone else’s interests, you endear yourself to him or her. It also shows you’re willing to contribute to the relationship.
3. Be a resource and give your own advice
A lot of my clients feel like they don’t have anything to offer in return to someone who seems to be further along in their career or seems to have more knowledge or expertise than them.
This is not true!
The people you want to connect with don’t know everything about everything. Surely there’s something you know how to do or knowledge you have which could be helpful to them.
For instance, I have a mentor who’s also a career coach with more years of experience than me. I learn a lot from her. But every time we meet, she always says to me, “You’re such a wealth of information!”
This is because I share with her some of the technologies I use to help me run my coaching business more efficiently or ideas I use to get more views of my blog. Most of them are ones she hadn’t heard of before. Therefore, I’m providing valuable information for her instead of just taking her advice without offering anything in return.
So think about things you have knowledge of that have been helpful for you. Then, when you see someone with a need for those things, tell them about it!
4. Be a good listener
Sometimes, others just need someone to listen. Especially if they’re usually the one doing all the listening. Giving them a break from listening and letting them talk can be a great relief for them. It’s probably the simplest and easiest way to serve as a good contact for someone else.
5. Show interest
Show genuine interest in others by following their social media updates and commenting on them. You don’t have to “like” or comment on every one of their posts. But do so for the ones you find most meaningful.
This shows you’re staying connected to them, paying attention to what they’re doing, and supporting them, even when you can’t do so more directly.
When you follow the above tips, you’ll start to build a strong network that’s not just based on quantity of contacts but also quality of contacts. And you’ll also be viewed as the type of quality contact people are excited to introduce to their contacts!
Want to learn more networking tips? Get my latest e-book Secrets to Networking With Ease and Confidence for free when you purchase my on-demand program The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively.